Small businesses employ a lotta people, and a few of 'em grow up to be the next Apple Computer. We need more of them, and we ought to pass laws to make things easier for them. Eliminating the estate tax would help a lot.
Typical small businesses, a gas station, a retail store, a motel, a general contractor, a farm, a medical practice, or a restaurant. Typically a sole proprietor deal. Sooner or later (death comes to everyone) and the sole proprietor dies. His estate is the small business. He may have a few bucks in a checking account, but over his lifetime he put everything into the business. And now that he died, Uncle Sam wants 50% of the value of the business for estate taxes, in cash, right now.
Few small businesses have that kind of money. Not now, not ever. So the business is closed, sold off, the employees laid off. The owner cannot will the business to an heir, he has to give half of it to Uncle Sam. And paying half the value of the business kills it.
Me, I think business owners ought to be able to pass the business down to heirs, tax free.
The estate tax was invented to confiscate the fortunes of people like the Rockefellers and the Gates. It does skin some of them, but they hire clever well paid lawyers who construct tax shelters for them. The estate tax really does hammer small businesses, so hard that many of them die.
We ought to repeal the estate tax, all the way.